My dad killed my Bond actress mum, tried to frame an innocent man and then fought over my inheritance – but horse therapy has kept me from spiralling
- Georgia Lillis, 30, has been running her business in Skerries for five years
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The daughter of murdered Bond actress Celine Cawley has revealed how horses kept her from ‘spiralling’ and ‘made sure she had something to get up to every morning’ – as she battles to save her equine therapy centre.
Georgia Lillis, 30, tragically lost her mother at the age of 16 when her father Eamonn Lillis bludgeoned Celine to death with a brick on 15 December 2008 in their exclusive north Dublin house.
At first, Eamonn claimed to have seen a masked intruder attacking his wife on their garden patio when he returned home from a dog walk that morning.
However, the TV advertising producer – who was having an affair with his masseuse – was later jailed for manslaughter after blood was found inside the sleeve of his jumper.
Following her mother’s death, Georgia turned to horses to keep her on the ‘straight and narrow’, she tells FEMAIL. But now the centre she set up to offer support and therapeutic riding lessons to children with special needs is being forced out of its home.
Georgia Lillis (pictured), 30, tragically lost her mother at the age of 16 when her father Eamonn Lillis bludgeoned Celine to death with a brick on 15 December 2008 in their exclusive north Dublin house
The Royal Stables in Skerries, Fingal, which was created in October 2018, helps children develop their social and psychological skills as well as improve movement.
Despite having a waiting list of at least 30 youngsters wanting to access the stables, Georgia’s landlord now needs the space back by the end of January – meaning she is desperately searching for a new premises.
Georgia – who has ADD and dyslexia – is a trained therapeutic coach after discovering the comfort and help horses can offer following her mother’s death.
She told FEMAIL: ‘They helped me through everything… and kept me on the straight and narrow. I’d lost my mum at a young age, and a lot of people don’t cope with that well.
‘For me, it was horses that kept me from spiralling and making sure I had something to get up to every morning and look after. Looking after them, made sure I looked after myself because if I couldn’t get out of bed, then no one was there to look after them.
‘It made sure that I kept myself together. Not always perfectly together, but just enough to help them, and I realised if they could do that for me, they could definitely do that for other people.’
Georgia, who first had riding lessons when she was just four years old, explained that she’s been ‘obsessed with horses for as long as I can remember’.
She added: ‘I’m an only child so they were my siblings, my best friends, my deepest darkest secret keepers.’
At first, Eamonn claimed to have seen a masked intruder attacking his wife (pictured) on their garden patio when he returned home from a dog walk that morning
Eamonn Lillis pictured during his trial for the murder of his wife Celine Cawley in 2010
Although Georgia dreamt of working with horses from a young age, Celine, who had a small role in the 1985 James Bond movie, A View to Kill, with Roger Moore, encouraged her to still pursue other options.
Wanting to fulfil her late mother’s wishes, Georgia completed a university degree in Archaeology and Ancient History.
‘[My mother] did not want me to get a job with horses at all, she was like “there’s no money in horses” and she was completely correct,’ admitted Georgia.
‘But for me, the passion completely outweighs the finance. I don’t want to be a Kardashian with loads of money, I want to be there to help people, so that everyone can get the benefit of horses like I did.’
Since the news that her centre is having to move location, Georgia described how some of her ‘stressed and worried’ clients have stopped eating.
She added: ‘One of them isn’t really sleeping at night, she’s been having panic attacks… and the other has completely shut down within themselves.’
In total, Georgia is searching for six to eight acres to house her 10 to 15 horses after being told in July that she would have to leave her current stables, which helps 10 to 15 children a week, ranging in age from three to 15.
Ideally, she would like to remain in the local area with her beloved animals, saying of her clients: ‘Some have progressed in such amazing ways that if we were to leave they would have to go on waiting lists elsewhere.
Following her mother’s death, Georgia (pictured aged nine) turned to horses to keep her on the ‘straight and narrow’, she tells FEMAIL. But now the centre she set up to offer support and therapeutic riding lessons to children with special needs is being forced out of its home
The Royal Stables in Skerries, Fingal, which was created in October 2018 by Georgia (pictured), helps children develop their social and psychological skills as well as improve movement
‘I’d be fearful that they’d regress, and lose the ground they’ve made,’ she said, adding: ‘Some people go “a horse can’t do everything like that” but they can, horses don’t judge people, they just take someone as they are, they don’t see the disability, they just see the person.
‘It’s absolutely amazing and I think that gives the kids a lot of reassurance that they don’t have to be anything but themselves. They’re just amazing animals.’
Georgia has not spoken to her father Eamonn since he was jailed for killing her mother in February 2010.
Later that year, the former TV producer fought to stop his daughter getting a half share of the mansion in which he battered his wife to death.
In High Court papers, he insisted he did not want to live in the Howth house ‘as some sort of tenant’ of his daughter or even share the property with her.
Instead, he said that there is no need for Georgia – who was on the cusp of turning 18 at the time – to get her half share, given that she will inherit the entire property if he dies before her.
At the time, Lillis argued that because he killed his wife, he would now have no income when he was released – and so should be the sole owner of the Sutton home they used to rent out.
‘I never expected to end up in prison,’ he said in a statement. ‘Prison is a very difficult and alien world for me. However the greatest punishment is the geographical distance between myself and my daughter and the diminution in our relationship.’
Murdered businesswoman Celine Cawley, pictured, who was killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis in 2008
In April 2015, Eamonn left prison a millionaire. Following Celine’s death, her husband reportedly secured €600,000 from their business Toytown Productions.
He is also said to have received a pension of €450,000 and a further €500,000 from the sale of properties he owned with Celine.
The Succession Act means that killers do not usually inherit any of the estate of the person they murdered or attempted to murder.
But as Eamonn was found guilty of manslaughter and had a joint tenancy with Celine, the property was automatically passed to him.
As a result, Celine’s siblings Susanna and Chris Cawley have spent years campaigning for legal reforms to prevent criminals who kill their partners from retaining their joint assets.
When he was first questioned by police, Eamonn claimed that he saw an intruder wielding a brick and ‘messing with Celine’s top’ when he arrived home from a dog walk.
He then claimed to have charged at the intruder, who swung the brick at him and made an escape over their fence. At the station, he gave gardaí the name of a man who had previously broken into their home.
Suspicions were raised when the gardaí noticed Eamonn had changed out of the clothes he had worn to the newsagents that morning.
In the attic, they discovered jeans and a jumper covered in blood as well as a pile of bloody tissue paper stuffed into a bin bag.
During their investigation, the police discovered Eamonn had been having an affair with massage therapist Jean Treacy. However, he later denied ever wanting to leave Celine and described the romance as a ‘mid life crisis’.
During his trial, the jury heard how Celine had sustained three blows to the head with a brick.
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